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Parliamentary questions
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1 July 2016
E-003281/2016(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Moedas on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-003281/2016

Directive (EU)2015/720, amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags(1), specifies that Member States shall take measures to achieve a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic bags on their territory. Measures to be taken may involve the use of economic instruments and marketing restrictions. Measures may vary depending on the environmental impact of the lightweight plastic carrier bags when they are recovered or disposed of, their composting properties, durability or specific intended use. However, the directive does not contain any specific obligation concerning the use of biodegradable shopping bags or products made from organic materials.

The Commission is preparing a draft mandate to CEN(2) for the development of a standard on home-compostable plastic carrier bags, in addition to the existing EN 13432:2000 standard on packaging recovery through composting and biodegradation in industrial installations. The Commission will also adopt an implementing act laying down the specifications of labels or marks for biodegradable and home-compostable plastic carrier bags. The ‘Plastic Strategy’ to be developed under the ‘EU action plan for the Circular Economy’ may also envisage future actions in this field.

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU)(3), a new EUR 3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium, operating under Horizon 2020(4), specifically supports the upgrade of technologies for renewably sourced plastics and the development of compostable solutions for packaging. In addition, this JU focuses on emerging new value chains and the conversion of organic(5) wastes and residues into plastics.

(1)OJ L 115, 6.5.2015.
(2)European Committee for Standardisation : https://www.cen.eu/Pages/default.aspx
(3)http://www.bbi-europe.eu/
(4)Horizon 2020: The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
(5)E.g. food and agricultural.

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